Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pinnacles National Park

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been
The Pinnacles National Park is a comfortable drive away—about 30 to 40 minutes—through gorgeous rural landscape. I sometimes think that I can pedal Tilda-Hilda there one day. Yes, we're still going out nearly every day, but only around the neighborhood. I'll do an update about us tomorrow. Maybe. Back to the Pinnacles.


The Pinnacles is truly odd topography in Central Coast California. It's a lone mountain, straddling San Benito and Monterey counties. On the western side (Monterey County), the Pinnacles seems to pop up from no where above Salinas Valley. From the distance, you think it's simply a low, nondescript mountain. Nope. It's when you go into the park that you see the amazing, inspiring rocky spires for which the park got its name.


Once upon a time, millions upon millions of years ago, the rock formations that make up the park was part of the Neenach Volcano in Southern California.  Over the millions upon millions of years, the Pinnacles crept nearly 200 miles northward, with the help of the San Andreas Fault, to its current spot. Mind boggling, isn't it?


Congress designated the Pinnacles a national park a couple years ago, but it has been part of the National Park Service since 1908 when it was established as the Pinnacles National Monument.
Being a national park is different. There are more park rangers, more park programs and activities, and more marketing, which translates into more visitors. The Pinnacles has the distinction of being the only national park near the Pacific Coast, between San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Here are some of unique things about the Pinnacles National Park. To learn more about the park, check out its website.
  • The rock formations are made of ash, lava sand, and rocks that burst out of the ancient Neenach Volcano.
  • The caves are known as talus caves, which were formed by the way the huge boulders fell upon each other.
  • There are 400 bee species at the Pinnacles, which is the highest number of bees per unit area of any place in the world.
  • Twenty-three bat species live in the Pinnacles, including the Townsend's Big-eared bat.
  • The Pinnacles is a release site for juvenile California condors that were bred in captivity. Currently, 32 condors fly freely through the area.


The Pinnacles has two entrances, with not a road to connect the two. The western entrance is in Monterey County, while the eastern one in San Benito County. The campsites are on the eastern side of the park. The temperatures get into the triple digits during the summer months. Just saying.


The Pinnacles was one of the places where we took visitors for a picnic and a hike through the caves and up to the reservoir. Come to think of it, the Daddy and the other men stayed behind barbecuing while the women and children hiked.  When the Only and Older Brother was a youth counselor in San Francisco in the early 1970s, he brought a few of the kids down to the Pinnacles for their first camping experience. He invited me along, which my first-time camping too. I had no idea the stars could be even brighter.


The Mama loved going to the Pinnacles. She says the wind through the mountains reminds her of the Philippines.  The last time the Mama hiked in the Pinnacles was over 20 years ago. We were on the western side, heading for the caves. About halfway there, she decided to go back to the picnic tables. Not to worry, she said. "I know where to go."


When we got back an hour later, she wasn't there. Panic attack! Another hour passed before the Mama ambled into the parking lot on her own. She missed the turn to the parking lot and headed up the trail to the high peaks. She told us rather calmly that when she got up to a high point, she saw the parking lot, and turned back.

I told her that we thought she was lost and the rangers were out looking for her. She didn't like that at all. "I was okay," she said. "Tell them not to put my name in the newspaper." That's the Mama.


Click here to check out the other participants of Alphabe-Thursday, which is hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock. Yup, today is the letter P.



18 comments:

  1. I think I would enjoy it there. It looks beautiful although I wouldn't care for the triple digit temperatures in the summer. Glad Mama found her way back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best time is spring. Then you can see the wildflowers. Autumn is good, too. Nothing like a crisp walk in the Fall.

      Delete
  2. I grew up with a range of mountains I could see outside my window called the Pinnacles. These are spire shaped rocks as well, but ours are more the color of sandstone and light greys, unlike the reddish rocks in your national park with the same name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went searching for photos of your Pinnacles. The terrain and rocks in your Pinnacles look older, but then I'm not a geologist. I've always lived with mountains in sight that I can't imagine what it would be like to live somewhere without them.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. A gem in our backyard, even though the Husband reminds me that it's 30-some miles away.

      Delete
  4. This post has everything, i think - it's Gorgeous, Inviting, makes me want to travel immediately . . (makes me wonder about your tilda-hilda post coming soon) - and it is full of surprising Beauty . . . that rocky mountains picture was placed so expertly, I was stunned when i saw it . . . AND - the BEES!!!!! I have a friend who is a bee keeper - i wonder if she knows this . . I'll have to ask her. Please Have an Excellent Weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked the post, Georgy. :-) The weekend is going excellent, so far. Hope yours is, too.

      Delete
  5. The Mama - queen of the stealth hike!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She surprised me a lot that day. Heck, she surprises me almost every day. She's so darn cute, too.

      Delete
  6. Quite an adventure with your mama, lol ! What a beautiful place !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adventures with the Mama ought to be the title of the book about her.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful shots and quite the adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh this looks like a beautiful area to hike in. I would not like the triple digits though. In that 3rd picture of the mountains, on the left side nearer the middle there looks to be a face in the stone. It looks like an Inca face or something-Do you see it??

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gorgeous photography for P !

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

    ReplyDelete
  10. This place looks so serene and soothing

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful area! My kinda place. And, yes, it is mind boggling that the land has moved 200 miles to the north over eons!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the good cheer. :-)